The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 3 ‘The Cell’ Review: Dwight, the Daryl-wannabe

The seventh season of The Walking Dead based on the first three episodes so far has been nailing it when it comes to the division of episodes to focus on certain characters which would hopefully tie-in a perfect arc by, at least, the end of the first half. The first episode focused on Negan breaking Rick and the group, the second episode focused on The Kingdom, and now, the third episode focused on The Sanctuary.

The world of The Walking Dead is getting bigger and bigger on television as this week, we are taken to the Sanctuary, the home base of the Saviors. The Sanctuary is located at a large factory surrounded by a wall of walkers to keep people out, and it the place seems as ruthless as those who live in it. Will Daryl find sanctuary in The Sanctuary?

Background Negan

Prior to this episode, Negan has only appeared twice in the entire series, and I already feel sick of him. It’s nice to see the show take the focus out of the devil for an episode that could have focused entirely on him.

You all might be saying “What’s he talking about? Negan was, like, on the entire episode.” Well, he was, but his screen time for this episode was more subtle than Dwight’s and Daryl’s. He had some moments on the show which I found really necessary yet annoying, but he’s the main villain of the show now, and he’s supposed to annoy viewers so I totally get that.

It was another great hour for Jeffrey Dean Morgan because I feel like he managed to stand out in every scene that he’s in. Just like Melissa McBride, he has this sort of screen magic, I guess. One thing I can criticize about the character is the predictability, he is just too much, and we expect too much from him that whatever he does seems kind of boring.

Daryl is Strong

I feel like it’s not only Negan who is looking for a way to break Daryl, I think the show itself has been doing this to him for quite a while now. In season 3, he lost his brother Merle. In season 4, he witnessed the prison go down, and couldn’t do anything to save Beth when she was taken. In season 5, he witnessed the death of Beth after he thought he could finally reunite with the girl. In season 6, he sort of got Denise killed by agreeing to take her out of the walls, not really his fault, but you know the kind of burden that someone could take just based on what ifs and could’ve beens. Finally, in the current season, he may be blaming himself for the death of Glenn after he tried to stand up to Negan when the latter was taunting poor Rosita.

This episode, we see Daryl really hold on to the strength by not submitting to Negan. He was treated like an animal in his cell, fed with dog food, and was tormented with really annoying music as he tries to sleep and a picture of Glenn’s head post-Lucille accompanied by Roy Orbison’s “Crying.” One thing’s for sure, he may not submit to Negan, but he is definitely broken, and they are going to continue to break him. Rest assured, Daryl will continue to be “Daryl,” and he’s never going to be “Negan.”

I can’t even imagine what’s going on in Daryl’s head right now, but I bet he is barely holding on to his sanity. We may not see Daryl in the next three episodes, but the next time we’ll see him, I can only bet that he will be teaming up with Dwight to escape that hellhole.

Dwight’s Struggle

Seeing Austin Amelio as Dwight in season 6, I wasn’t really too impressed, but in this episode, I realized how perfect he is for the role for managing to convey what inner struggle his character is going through.

Dwight knows that Daryl is strong, and being someone who has submitted to Negan, Dwight wants to see that even the strongest of people would submit to Negan. I feel like the main reason why Dwight is tormenting Daryl too much is because he’s insecure, and this episode proves how much he wants to be just like Daryl.

Dwight tells Daryl that he could be like him or one of the walkers on the wall. Well, I feel like this is him sort of realizing how easy it was for him to surrender to Negan. These were messages to himself, and slowly, he’s going to pull away from the idea of kneeling down to Negan and actually stand up for himself.

This episode, I feel like Dwight is also trying to prove to Negan that he is stronger than what Negan thinks of him. Telling the Lucille-wielding Savior leader that he hasn’t “earned it” yet means a lot more than we think. He doesn’t think he is worth anything yet, and that is simply because he is still has to kiss Negan behind.

I feel like the viewers are going to root for him a lot more as we go further into the season. This episode is just the beginning of what kind of change the character is going to go through to find that inner peace, and his potential.

Episode Rating

It was recently revealed that this was supposed to be the second episode, but they decided to go with “The Well” to give the viewers a breather as this would be another heavy episode, and would seem like torture especially for those who love Daryl.

Overall, the episode managed to explore The Sanctuary, and build Dwight’s character impressively, but failed to make the entire episode as engaging for giving us repetitive sequences and mediocre story lines. With that, I would give this episode a 6 out of 10.

The development of The Walking Dead’s larger world is starting to become fascinating as they explore the locations one by one. Focusing on each location is a cool device to build something that is even more extraordinary.

Little Pig, Little Pig, Let me in!

The next episode of The Walking Dead will go back to Alexandria where “the remaining members of the group try to keep it together,” as Negan visits for their offering.

You can watch the promo The Walking Dead season 7, episode 4, “Service” below:

What do you think about this week’s episode of The Walking Dead? Sound in the comments below!

Header Image: AMC

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